John Hollinger has released his player projections for the coming year and here is his take on the Bobcats: Hollinger Profiles: Charlotte Bobcats. At that link, you can see a quick rundown of everyone on the squad and their projection for the coming season – except for the rookies and guys who played very few minutes last year. Seeing these numbers, it is easy to figure out how he projects just 29 wins for the Bobcats ((ESPN Insider)2009-10 Forecast: Charlotte Bobcats) – He sees only 2 Bobcats posting above average PER marks, and they are Gerald Wallace and D.J. Augustin.
A couple of questions though – Boris Diaw had a PER of 15 last season in Charlotte (and even better when he was just a power forward), but his numbers in Phoenix were significantly worse – 12.6 PER to be exact. While Hollinger's tool cannot account for that, we can – Diaw is in a better situation now in Charlotte, with an opportunity to contribute far more than he was called upon to previously. While the PER projection expects Boris to regress to his more usual work, there is a good chance we actually his numbers bump up a bit more, and Hollinger alludes to that in his player write-up (which I will not excerpt but will say Insider is worth the small monetary commitment). So, rather than a PER of 13, Boris may well be between 15 and 16 again, adding 3 to 5 wins to the Bobcats total.
A somewhat similar critique of Tyson Chandler's mark – He was injured last year and his play suffered, dropping to a PER of 13.44. Before that, however, he had put up consecutive seasons of 17+ and he remains just 27. But Hollinger's tool projects a 12.47 for this year? Really? I do expect him to come up short of those 17s he put up with Chris Paul, but is it outlandish to expect him back around league average (which he managed in Chicago in his first couple of seasons)? If he is healthy, it is not. So, Tyson sees +2.5 more on his PER than Hollinger projects, and the Bobcats add another handful of wins.
Don't take this as my being critical of Hollinger's projections – I think it is awesome. I have been looking forward to the player projections since last season ended. And I still am – it is a really interesting tool and I am sure Hollinger is improving it constantly. But with some unique circumstances around a couple of Bobcats, I just wanted to note that maybe things were not as bad as they may appear.